From Cineaste (Spring 2010; Vol. XXXV, No. 2). Considering the continuing lack of contact between most Americans and the remainder of the world, it probably shouldn’t be too surprising to find James Wolcott still rattling on about the alleged French worship of Jerry Lewis in the September 2011 Vanity Fair — a myth addressed briefly in my second paragraph here, whose limited factual basis in fact hasn’t really been operative for almost half a century. As Lewis himself has often pointed out, his popularity in many places around the world has clearly surpassed his reputation in France. (Today, for instance, Woody Allen is immensely more popular there, with intellectuals as well as the general public — and more popular there than he has ever been in the U.S., which has never been true with Lewis.) But presumably this cherished piece of idiocy will continue to be trotted out as long as Americans remain clueless about France and its culture and proud of its ignorance. It’s a little bit like saying, “Oh, those naughty French — ooo-la-la!” — J.R.
by Chris Fujiwara. Urbana/Chicago: University of Illinois Press,
162 pp., illus. Hardcover: $60.00. Paperback: $19.95.
I hope I can be forgiven for repeating an anecdote I recounted in these pages in 2004,while writing about Charlie Chaplin’s films on DVD.… Read more »